• July 22, 2014

Killeen ISD’s predictable, but not necessarily bad, choice

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Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 4:30 am, Sun Jul 21, 2013.

As I gazed into my crystal ball, I could foresee what was coming. And my crystal ball is a 20-year-old, hazy marble that I found in my sock drawer.

The hire was that predictable.

But, while hiring Mansfield defensive coordinator Jerry Edwards to replace Mike Mullins as head coach and athletic coordinator at Harker Heights was expected, that does not mean it was the wrong move.

It doesn’t mean it was the right one, either. No one will know for sure until Edwards has been at the helm of the Knights for two or three seasons.

As it turns out, my “crystal” ball wasn’t so clear on how he is going to do, just that he was going to get hired.

Of course, KISD did make it pretty plain to see.

The buzz around Killeen was that Edwards was going to get the job when the finalists were announced in January for the head football coach at Ellison.

After all, he had a connection to Mansfield, the same ISD where Deputy Superintendent John Craft was before he took the job with KISD. He had a solid pedigree and he had a bit of youth on his side — Edwards is only 34.

He also had no head coaching experience to bog him down — no blips on the résumé that stood out like a red flag.

However, the job went to Trent Gregory, who had a losing record as a head coach and even had an

0-10 season to overcome. But, in the end, KISD went with Gregory’s intense passion and energy, hoping to resuscitate the lethargic Eagles program that had lost its last 20 games under head coach Buddy McBryde.

And Edwards was left wanting.

His interview had gone, well. He had liked the area, and, of course, the chance to become a head coach.

But it seemingly wasn’t enough.

But unbeknownst to him, it was.

All he had to do was wait.

When Mullins abruptly resigned as head football coach and athletic coordinator of the Knights on June 18, Craft and KISD already knew they had a potential replacement in Edwards. Once the resume hit KISD’s chief personnel officer Steve Cook’s email inbox, Edwards was a finalist in all but an official capacity.

After that there should have been only two debates inside the small conference room at the KISD offices.

No. 1 — Would he be better than the new candidates — the ones who had not also applied for the Ellison job — specifically Houston North Forest head coach and athletic director Plez Atkins and Round Rock Stony Point defensive coordinator Scott Stewart?

No. 2 — Would an internal candidate or interim head coach such as Harker Heights offensive coordinator Rob Hagey, Harker Heights defensive coordinator Ty Oppermann or Killeen co-offensive coordinator Richard Daniels provide more stability for the program?

The answer in the end for KISD was no.

Edwards may not have been the best candidate for the job on paper. That was probably Atkins, who went 11-1 with North Forest last season only to see his high school get shut down and sold off for spare parts to Houston ISD after it failed to meet academic standards. Surely, anyone who could thrive in that environment could thrive anywhere.

But anywhere is not Harker Heights and there is more to winning long term than a good resume.

It also takes a good fit and that is something Craft has been searching for with his last two hires — Gregory and Edwards.

That’s why KISD decided to hire Edwards. The selection didn’t make a big splash and shock anyone.

Instead, it was a nice, safe and predictable choice.

And that is nothing to get all worked up and lose all your marbles over.

After all, you never know where you might find them again.

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